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One thing that has always puzzled me about Bluetooth headphones is that manufacturers insist on hanging all that technology directly off your ears. Those headsets that are simply for making phone calls while driving - not walking around, that just makes you look like an idiot - I'm happy to have hanging from my ear. The Aliph Jawbone being a particularly fine example. However, when I'm walking, or worse still jogging, around I don't like or want the weight this adds. As a pair of Klipsch Image earphones prove, great audio quality can be produced in a tiny package so why are Bluetooth connected earphones so different?
Even the otherwise excellent Etymotic Research ety8 Bluetooth earphones fell into that trap. I was therefore, understandably interested in taking a look at Sennheiser's MM200 Bluetooth 'phones as they eschew the hang-from-ears mentality in favour of hanging the main bulk of the unit from a lanyard, and then running a set of cabled earphones off that. In theory it sounds like the exact wireless device I've been looking for.
There are obvious advantages. Foremost, I think there's a lot to be said for not looking like a fool with lumps of plastic hanging from the sides of my head! That brings with it the ability to use the MM200's while moving about, unlike the ety8s which have a tendency to shake loose, at least from my ears.
The MM200s have 'normal' earphone buds running off the lanyard and the left of these has an in-line microphone, too. Obviously this allows the device to function as a hands free headset but I would have preferred to see a 3.5mm jack allowing any earphones to be connected and benefit from the wireless Bluetooth connectivity. It's not like putting the microphone in the lanyard would be difficult anyway.
Saying that, the only place I would ever use a hands free kit is in a car and I hope none of us would ever consider driving with earphones in so I hardly see a problem with omitting the microphone entirely, anyway. I guess, it does mean that you don't need to take your phone out of your pocket to answer it when you're out and about, listening to music.
The Bluetooth receiver has a clip enabling attachment to a shirt pocket or lapel, which can be removed when not wanted. This is hardly necessary as the unit is so light that when using its lanyard I ended up forgetting I was wearing the thing and spent a good 10 minutes searching my desk before realising that, funnily enough, the music I was hearing wasn't appearing from thin air.
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